Friday, April 27, 2012
There's an unnatural amount of light in the airport terminal. It makes everything look stark and sterile, like a surgery. The place is nearly featureless. The beige terrazzo floor meets a bank of black windows. Only the lights of the planes waiting in the night are visible through them. The seating is modern and lends to the sterility of the place. The people who move through it seem affected by the light. They look detached; washed out by the overexposure. But, they are no doubt distracted too, either by the tedium of yet another trip or the excitement and anxiousness of a rare flight. Some move briskly, their baggage rolling behind them and others plod with their bags swinging at their sides.
From one side come four young men. Hair askew, unshaven, and lanky they have that uber-hip quality of appearing careless and intense at the same time. Two of them are wearing sunglasses against the fluorescent glare. A fedora. A long black coat over a khaki v-necked t-shirt. Long-sleeved plaids. Dark, skinny jeans. Doc Martens and Converse high tops. The strong smell of cigarette smoke trails after them and if you get close enough a hint of alcohol too. Two of them have soft, black guitar cases slung over their shoulders. They know that they can't take them onto the plane, but will carry them on anyway. The stewardess will politely inform them that they aren't allowed and offer to stow them. That way they won't have to pay the extra baggage fee. Just one travelling trick of many they have learned along the way.
The four move together in a focused amble through the terminal. Abruptly, one of them veers away from the others. He has straight, long reddish blond hair that hangs in his face and a beard to go with it. It flows as he moves. Coming the other way is an Anglican priest in his vestments. The priest is middle-aged, slim and fit with dark short-cut hair. The young man walks up to the priest and they stop, facing each other. As his band-mates stop to turn and watch, he shifts the guitar on his back, drops to his left knee, takes the priest's hand and kisses it. As the three smirk and keep walking, the priest watches them leave. He senses that they are not mocking their friend. Only tolerating his idiosyncrasy. The priest turns his attention back to the mass of hair at his feet. "The peace of the Lord be with you," he says. With a beaming smile and sparkling eyes a face emerges from the hair and says, "And also with you."
The priest pulls the young man up by the hand and they shake hands as they hug each other. They break apart and hold onto each other's hands and shoulders and speak earnestly and excitedly to each other. It's clear they don't know each other, but the bond between them is unmistakable. They could be brothers, except for their questions. "What's your name?" "Where are you from?" "Where are you going?" "Do you like being a...?" Anxiously, the young man looks over the priest's shoulder. His band-mates are moving quickly out of view. He must go. "Would you bless me?" he asks.
As a crowd of people move around them, almost unnoticed, the young man drops to his knees, the guitar neck sticking up past his bowed head. As he looks down he notices how dirty the beige terrazzo floor really is. In the raw light, the priest puts one hand on the long-haired head and makes the sign of the cross with the other. "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen." The young man says "Amen," makes the sign of the cross over himself and gets up quickly. "Thank you!" he says earnestly. He shakes the priest's hand as he goes to leave. "I've got to go! Thanks again!" He waves over his shoulder as he adjusts the guitar and runs down the terminal.
The priest watches after him until he is out of view before he turns and continues on his own way.
This post has been submitted to L.L. Brakat's On, In and Around Mondays!